KOLKATA, (C.M. Paul) – The Bible Society of India(Calcutta Auxiliary) concluded its bi-centenary celebrations, 20 August at Rabindra Sadan, the cultural hub of Kolkata. Some 1,200 people took part in the Gospel Musical Evening presented by 15 member Dancers’ Guild troupe performing “HE the Light of the World.” Parbati Gupta coordinated the half hour song and dance event weaved around Tagore songs inspired by the life of Jesus, a fitting tribute to the Nobel laureate on his 150th birth anniversary.
An hour-long praise and worship led by Bollywood singer Vijay Benedict followed.
“I have been associated with Bible Society of India for over 30 years now,” said Vijay Benedict who started his Bollywood career singing film song “I am a disco dancer.”
To the thunderous applause of the audience, Mr Benedict testified “I am a God’s singer.”
Introducing his hit song “Yesu tu hai mahan” (Jesus you are great) he confessed, “I am committed to the mission of giving the best music for the Lord Jesus.”
“Yesu naam” (Jesus name) rendered in bhangra beat had the audience on their feet clapping, swaying and singing along.
Mr. Benedict who has sung for over 35 Bollywood films is credited to have produced one ofIndia’s first Gospel songs video.
The BSI concluding ceremony started with felicitations by the President of the United Bible Society Dr. Robert Cunville from Shillong, first woman president of Bible Society of India Dr (Mrs.) Navamani Peter, General Secretary of BSI Dr Mani Chacko, first vice-president of BSI Dr PNS Chandra Bose, and president of the BSI (Calcutta) Church of North India Bishop Ashoke Biswas of Calcutta.
The master of ceremony for the evening was Ms Ruthlin Saha.
BSI Calcutta Auxiliary Secretary Mr. Sajal Kumar Sarkar rendered the vote of thanks.
The Indian government released a special postage stamp to honor 200 years of the Bible Society of India (BSI) on 21st Feb. 2011 at St. Paul’s Cathedral by West Bengal Governor MK Narayanan.
Established in Calcuttain 1811 AD, the Bible Society of India translates and distributes Bible or portions of the Bible in over 400 native Indian languages. It has its headquarters at Bangalore with 15 Auxiliaries and corresponding office in Port Blair, Andaman and NicobarIsland.
The Secretary of the Calcutta Auxiliary of the Society, Sajal Kumar Sarkar, pointed out that “Bible Society of India is the second largest publishing house in Asia after the government of India.” In addition to it, the BSI is also the second Bible Society to be established in the World.
The Society is part of the United Bible Societies (UBS), which is a fellowship of 145 individual Bible Societies working in over 200 countries and territories.
The UBS is currently involved with close to 600 translation projects covering nearly 500 languages.
According to Sarkar, the Bible Society of India has covered about 176 Indian languages till date. Currently it is working on 12 new projects, mainly the translation of Bible to tribal indigenous languages of North East India.
“One of the tribal language that we are translating the Bible is to Satri language spoken by a tribal group in West Bengal formed of tea garden workers,” said Sarkar.
In India, the Bible movement received a running start with the pioneering and prolific translation works undertaken by the Serampore trio of missionaries led by William Carey.
By the next ten years, Sarkar said the Bible Society of India will vie to translate the Bible in about 75 other languages “so the Word of God can reach to the unreached and lost”.